The holidays are here once again. Alongside the joy, unfortunately, every holiday season there are injuries. The holiday season accounts for about 65 percent of the annual toy sales in the United States. Every year after the holidays, and in spite of the many warnings and precautions that are issued, scores of children are injured by their new toys. When you purchase for children, take extra care that you don’t spoil the joy by purchasing a toy that can cause an injury. Read any warning labels printed on toys and toy packaging.
A number of the most dangerous toys may seem entirely innocent to holiday shoppers in department and toy stores. Never buy young children marbles, magnets, balloons, or anything tiny that can be swallowed. According to researchers, over three million children in the United States have been treated in emergency rooms for toy-related injuries. More than half of those children were under age six. Choking, strangulation, cuts, and injuries to the eyes are the most common injuries children suffer when they play with defective or dangerous toys.
Every five days in the U.S., at least one child dies from choking. It’s the leading cause of death when children play with toys. Button batteries and magnets, if swallowed, can cause severe injury or death. According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission, between 2009 and 2013, nearly 3,000 children were taken to emergency rooms after swallowing magnets. Also avoid toys with PVC plastic or lead. Since 2009, toymakers have been phasing out such items, but older toys may still be dangerous. Any baby’s or child’s toy should include an ACMI (Art and Creative Material Institute) seal confirming that it was made with non-toxic materials.
WHAT OTHER PRODUCTS POSE RISKS TO CHILDREN?
It’s not only toys – clothing products with strings or cords are also hazards for small children. Don’t purchase anything for a small child if it includes ribbons, cords, strings, or straps – from a jacket to a yo-yo – because strangulation is another leading cause of children’s consumer product-related fatalities. In fact, due to the risk of strangulation, parents and others with small children in their homes should probably have only cordless blinds or drapes.
When a new toy causes an injury to a child, the manufacturer or distributor may be guilty of negligence, and the family may elect to pursue a product liability claim. In New York City, an experienced Bronx product liability lawyer can help families win the reimbursement they will need for medical care if a child is injured by a defective or hazardous toy. The right Bronx personal injury attorney will work aggressively for the maximum available compensation.
WHAT TOYS ARE ON THIS YEAR’S “WATCH” LIST?
In November, the Boston-based nonprofit safety advocacy group WATCH (World Against Toys Causing Harm, Inc.) publicized its fourth annual list of the “10 Worst Toys” of the year. In a press release, the organization stated, “Due to poor design, manufacturing and marketing practices, there are toys available for purchase today with the potential to lead to serious injury and even death.” Listed here are WATCH’s “Ten Worst Toys of 2016” and the reasons why these products are on the WATCH list:
1. “Warcraft Doomhammer” – There’s no warning about the potential for injuries from the heavy plastic toy hammer.
2. “Kids Time Baby Children’s Elephant Pillow” – Federal law bans pillows designed specifically for children under a year old. Nevertheless, ads for this product show an infant with the pillow, and the product includes no warnings or recommended ages.
3. “Peppa Pig’s Muddy Puddles Family” – No warning is included about the potential choking hazard. Some packages recommend ages 3+ while others recommend ages 2+.
4. “Slimeball Slinger” – Made by Diggin Active, Inc., this product can cause eye injuries.
5. “Banzai Bump N’ Bounce Body Bumpers” – In small print, a warning recommends helmets or goggles when children use the product, but the packaging shows children with no safety equipment playing with the product.
6. “The Good Dinosaur Galloping Butch” – WATCH says this toy has the potential to cut or puncture a child’s face or injure an eye.
7. “Nerf Rival Apollo Xv-700 Blaster” – The packaging shows children wearing safety equipment that is not included and must be purchased separately. WATCH believes this product could injure an eye.
8. “Baby Magic Feed and Play Baby” – Although recommended for children ages 2+, the product includes a toy spoon that’s a potential choking hazard.
9. “Peppy Pups” – With a 31-inch cord, this product poses a genuine strangulation risk.
10. “Flying Heroes Superman Launcher” – This is another toy that could fly into a child’s eyes or face.
The products that are on this year’s WATCH top ten list have not been banned or recalled as of November 2016. As usual, toy manufacturers are claiming that safety is their top concern this holiday season, but many of the toys that retailers are offering have not been independently safety tested, so parental and consumer concerns are warranted. The bottom line is that parents need to inspect every toy before they allow their child or children to play with it.
WHAT ABOUT ITEMS THAT HAVE BEEN RECALLED?
Don’t spoil the joy this holiday season by purchasing a gift that can injure a child. If your own child is injured because of a toy manufacturer’s negligence, don’t hesitate to take legal action to win the compensation that your family will need and deserve. If a child is injured while playing with a toy, an experienced Bronx product liability lawyer can fight on behalf of the family for the compensation they will need to cover their medical expenses – and for the justice they deserve.
Keep your sales receipts. If you plan to buy a particular item for a child, make sure that it has not been recalled. If you receive a recall notice, or if you learn that something you’ve purchased has been recalled, return it to the retailer immediately for a repair or a replacement. Also be careful when you purchase used items for children like car seats and sports equipment – those are items that might have been recalled years ago. If you’ll adhere to these simple safety tips regarding toys – and keep abreast of the recalls – your child or children will have joyful holidays and a safe, injury-free new year.